Innovative Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day

We all know Valentine’s Day comes once in a year and every lover waits for this day with much anticipation and eagerness. We are looking for special ways to make each other happy, and give an unforgettable and special present.

However, it is a bit tough as well as tedious task to find the perfect gift that will be adored and cherished by your loved one. So if you are having nightmares searching for the perfect gift for him/her, here is the list that needs your attention.

Valentine Day Gift Ideas for him

If your man is a car lover and loves to drive down the roads often, then you can have your permanent place in his heart by gifting him a very useful car stereo adapter from GROM. GROM-USB3 stereo adapter has numerous benefits. It is capable of connecting Smartphones (Android, Apple and Microsoft), in addition to adding devices like a mass storage device, external hard drive and a flash drive, and HD Radio.

The integration is seamless and GROM’s kit allows the playback from your Smart devices through the controls on the steering wheel as well as through the car stereo. Your partner can easily connect their Smart devices with their car stereo and connect to the latest car technology such as hands-free calling, voice guided turn by turn GPS and  much more!

You can also add your special touch by compiling his favorite tracks and adding it on a pen drive along with the adapter.

(Check out our Valentine Day Special Spotify GROMmantic playlist, compiled of some most favorite romantic songs from GROM team.)

driving with music

Your busy girlfriend might want to answer phone calls even during your long drive on the weekends.  Taking calls while driving the car will be easier and safer for her, with a Bluetooth car kit from GROM.  The new GROM-BT3 offers hands-free calling/receiving as well as Bluetooth streaming. GROM-BT3 will be a smart add-on to the original stereo of numerous cars. It comes with microphone and also built-in Bluetooth. It has two separate extension inputs that can be used for HD Radio and AUX-In connections in the vehicle. The Bluetooth is also compatible with the latest Smartphones, iPhone, Android or any other phones with Bluetooth capability. Coupled with Dashlinq dashboard car mode app (available for Android phone only), GROM-BT3 creates a perfect duo for the music lover and busy person that is always on the go.

If your boyfriend is always on the go, VLine infotainment system will help him to enjoy his busy lifestyle. Powerful car infotainment platform, VLine will provide him with the access to the latest music apps such as Spotify, Web Radio, Google music. Modern navigation and real time traffic using Google Maps or Waze on VLine will help him to focus on the road while driving and do not stress out about looking for the next turn or detour. All that is seamlessly integrated with his factory touch screen. VLine is currently available for select Lexus stereos, with more vehicle support coming soon.

advanced car infotainment system VLine

Gift from GROM Audio is thoughtful,  useful and trendy. But the most powerful and great gift of all is your time and attention. Treat your love with a dinner, invite for a dance, take for a walk or watch a movie together. We all know how precious such  moments in our lives are.

“I know of only one duty, and that is to love.” – Albert Camus

Check out our very GROMmantic Spotify playlist, consisting of our team’s favorite romantic songs.  Follow it on Spotify to gain access and play it later in your car with one GROM’s integrative car solutions, or at home.

Posted by GROM Audio

GROM Audio’s Participation in Giving Tuesday

As the holiday season is quickly approaching, the spirit of not just receiving but also giving is in the air.  Every year, GROM Audio teams up with an organization for toy drives.  This year is no different.

This year, we have decided to partner with Salvation Army* for their Angel Tree program, a nationwide effort.  Through Angel Tree, we give gifts to children of needy families.  We are excited to give back to our local community in this way.  In this Giving Tuesday, we want to encourage our communities to join us in giving back to wherever you are at.



Giving Tuesday began back in 2012 as a response to the commercialization of the holidays during the post-Thanksgiving season (  We at GROM Audio are not only car enthusiasts, but we also care about our communities.  We believe that together, we can build a better world.  Join with us this season of receiving and giving.

See links below for more information on Giving Tuesday and ways to give:

*GROM Audio has no affiliations with Salvation Army.  GROM Audio do not reflect the views as provided by Salvation Army herein.  This community project is strictly optional within the company to participate and is not a reflection of GROM Audio as a company.

Holiday Gift Guide

GROM Audio Holiday Gift Guide 2016

Are you ready for Christmas shopping? Because Santa doesn’t have extra bass for your car stereo. Are you shopping for an audiophile? Are you shopping a car enthusiast? Maybe you might be buying for a gadget geek?

We at GROM Audio are excited to offer you our holiday gift guide. From our car kits, which turn your smart phone into an extension of your car stereo; to VLine, which evolves your car infotainment system by integrating it with your hand-held device, increasing access to features and empowering it with the latest software innovations.

At GROM Audio, we offer seamless integrative experience for your car stereo. In the month of December, we will continue to provide you with gift ideas.  So be sure to check back on our website and social media for our daily gift countdown.

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$300-$500 TIER

VLine Infotainment System Upgrade for select Lexus and Toyota stereos
$299.95 – $499.95

GROM Audio gift guide

VLine is the smart computer that connects to the back of your Lexus/Toyota stereo and integrates into the car infotainment system and touch screen display. VLine is superior alternative and easy upgrade for Lexus/Toyota OEM stereo. If you want to access Google Maps, Music such as Spotify, Web Radio, and others, from your Lexus stereo screen – VLine is for you.

 $100-$300 TIER

One of GROM Car Kits that provides USB connectivity, Bluetooth hands free and A2DP wireless music streaming, and HD Radio

$145.99 and up

GROM Audio gift guide

GROM-USB3 car stereo adapter connects your USB 2.0 device such as flash drive, external hard drive or mass storage device, iPhone and Android Smartophone, to the stock stereo in your car. You can control the playback through your car stereo or steering wheel controls. USB3 is capable of Bluetooth music streaming/hands free phone calls and HD Radio with additional Bluetooth Dongle and HD Radio Dongle.

$132.99 – $141.99

GROM Audio gift guide

Adds Hands Free Calling and Wireless Audio to the original factory stereo of many cars. The system comes with built-in Bluetooth and microphone. GROM-BT3 module has two extension ports that can be used for Aux-In and HD Radio integration with optional cables that are sold separately.

$249.99 – $289.99

GROM Audio gift guide

The kit works for Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Volvo select stereos with Fiber Optic MOST technology. GROM-MST4 car stereo adapter integrates your USB flash drive, iPod/iPhone and Android to the stock stereo in your car for music, browsing, text display (where supported) and integrated controls. MST4 is capable of Bluetooth music streaming/hands free phone calls and HD Radio with additional Bluetooth Dongle and HD Radio Dongle.

UNDER $100

AUX1 Adapters
$61.99 – $71.99

GROM Audio gift guide

Direct sound connection will ensure the best sound quality. The adapter comes with the 3.5mm audio jack connection for any MP3 player, Smartphone, or other music source.


OBD2 Diagnostic Dongle

GROM Audio gift guide

GROM SmartScan(TM) OBDII scan tool will allow you to fix simple problems yourself. With SmartScan OBD2 Tool you can find out why your check engine light is on before visiting the mechanic.  You will be able to read and clear diagnostic trouble codes (both generic and manufacturer specific DTCs), turn off the Check Engine Light and display current sensor readings using your phone or tablet (with the appropriate app).

Phone Holder for the Car Vent

GROM Audio gift guide

GROM Universal Adjustable Rotating Air Vent car mount will hold your phone or GPS in place. It can be mounted safely and securely on the air vent of the vehicle, and will not obstruct the view.
Prevents devices from scratches and falls and provides easy accessibility to the mounted device.  The holder is an ideal solution for hands free calling or navigation with your phone.  This practical mount model allows the driver to interact with electronic gadgets conveniently and without obscuring visibility.  The phone sits securely, and can be positioned vertically, horizontally or at an angle.

Magnetic Phone Holder for the Car Vent

GROm Audio gift guide

GROM Magnetic Air Vent car mount uses magnets to hold your phone or GPS in place. It can be mounted safely and securely on the air vent of the vehicle, and will not obstruct the view.  GROM Magnetic Air Vent Car Mount will hold devices encased in covers and cases.  Prevents devices from scratches and falls and provides easy accessibility to the mounted device.  The holder is an ideal solution for hands free calling or navigation with your phone.


Dual Android and iPhone data cable

GROM Audio gift guide

Apple MFi Certified Lightning cable, 100% compatible with iOS 9 without any warning message. 3ft 2in1 ( micro USB connector with 8 pin adapter) design makes the cable compatible with both Apple system and Android system phones and tablets.  Micro USB adapter is compatible with Samsung Android systems, including Galaxy Tab, Tab 2, Tab 3, Tab 4, Samsung S2, S3, S3 mini, S4, S5, galaxy 3, galaxy 4, galaxy 5, Amazon Kindle, Kindle Fire, HD, HDX, Nook, lg Google Nexus 4, 5, 7, 10, and many tablet and mobile devices, with the exception of Asus Transformer.


High quality iPhone data cable

GROM Audio gift guide

The GROM USB Sync and Charge Lightning Cable works with Apple devices that have a Lightning port, including the Apple iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPad Air, and iPod Nano.  The narrow Lightning Adapter is small enough to fit most cases but strong enough to withstand repeated unplugging and storage.
Works with GROM-USB3 Car kit.Connect your iPhone to factory stereo for play, charge and control via GROM-USB3

High speed dual USB car charger

GROM Audio gift guide

Mobile electronics USB socket power adapter for vehicle use.  This stylish charger will charge your devices at the fastest possible speed.  The sleek design ensures that the charger fits neatly and safely in your 12Volt power port. Works well for anyone that needs to charge their iPhone, Android, GPS or other mobile device in the car.   The GROM Smart car charger will charge 2 devices simultaneously at full speed. The charger will be able to ensure the full charging efficiency. Compact and easy to take with you no matter where you go.

Reversible Micro-USB cable for Android phone

GROM Audio gift guide

High quality EasyFlip Reversible Micro USB to USB cable, 5FT, gray and black color.  No more need to fumble with fitting your MicroUSB cable to your phone, and risking to damage your phone connector. With GROM EasyFlip reversible MicroUSB cable you will plug your cable to your phone worry free.

GROM Gift Card

Can’t decide what would be the perfect fit for a loved one or friend? Give them a gift card and let them decide. Contact us on how to get one.
 GROM Audio gift guideDon’t let figuring out what to buy for your loved ones suck the joy out of your holiday season this year.  Instead, pick something that we know will be thoughtful, sentimental, and practical at GROM Audio.

Is your car missing Bluetooth streaming or Smartphone integration?

GROM USB Android iPhone Bluetooth car kit gets reviewed by cerebral-overload:

Hands On: GROM USB3 Car Stereo Adapter

Do you have a used vehicle or even a new car that you wish had Bluetooth integration for hands free calls as well as media streaming? Thanks to the people over at GROM Audio,  you can get that all in a package that keeps the factory look of your radio with an easy to install kit. Lets take a look and see if this is something you should check out.

The GROM Audio USB Android, iPhone Bluetooth Adapter comes with everything you need to get your factory radio working like a new one. In the box you get the “brain box” that has all of the electronics in it as well as an install manual, instructions, and all the cables you need to have Bluetooth and USB connections to your radio.

The GROM kit is very well put together and allows even an inexperienced car audio person to install it. I was expecting to have to do some wiring for the install. The kit is completely plug and play. There is no wires to cut or splice to get this kit installed. This kit is powered by the car’s factory wiring.  As you can see from the pictures, all the wires have plugs that connect directly to the cars factory harness as well as plug directly into the back of the radio.

To install, you will need to remove your factory radio to access the harness behind it. Unplug the harness from the back of the radio and then plug those wires into the GROM harness. Next plug the other end of the GROM harness into your radio. After that, just attach the USB/aux, USB Charging and Bluetooth plugs into the GROM box. Then attach the wired mic to the Bluetooth wires and install the mic in a location that is near the drivers head, facing the driver. After that, the only thing you need to do it find a location to place the box and wires behind the radio and re-install the head unit.

The install only took me about 30 minutes from start to connecting my phone via Bluetooth.

Pairing of your phone is the same as any other Bluetooth device. Once you are paired, your phone will automatically connect every time you get in the car. To use the GROM, you need to use the band button and switch from AM/FM and go to XM. This is what powers the GROM unit and allows the music/phone calls to go through your cars speakers. You can also use the USB Cables to charge your phone, so there is no need for a separate charging cable.

If you have a MP3 Player that doesn’t have Bluetooth, the kit allows you to plug your device in via a 3.5mm AUX cable. This works just like listening through your headphones, but it goes to your car’s audio. You can also play music that is on a USB thumb drive. The screen of your head unit will show you track numbers as well as play time, just like if you were listening to a CD.  Audio streaming types that are compatible with the GROM unit are MP3, M4A, OGG, FLAC, AAC, WAV.

The basic kit comes with the GROM USB3 box and the USB cable, as well as vehicle specific wire harness. The kit as we have tested it also include the optional Bluetooth connectivity. That addition includes the Bluetooth Dongle and the wired microphone.  One option that is available that we didn’t test was the HD Radio kit that will allow you to receive HD radio station on your non HD radio. This opens up countless more radio stations in CD Quality.

The audio for the GROM USB3 kit will be as good as the speakers in your car. Luckily, in our test vehicle we have a decent speaker system so the music was very good with no static or pooping like you can get from an FM Transmitter or an inline antenna adapter. The call quality using the Bluetooth receiver and wired mic is very clear and the people on the other end were able to easily understand everything I said.

Overall, I am very impressed with the GROM USB3 kit. It was much easier to install than I expected and the clean install makes it look like your car came factory with Bluetooth option.

The base price for the GROM USB3 kit we tested is $156.99 and price as tested is $216.73 with the Bluetooth Dongle and AuxMini Din cable.  To add-on the GROM HD Radio Tuner and antenna, you will need to pony up an extra $89.99

written by: Cerebral Overload

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VLine, a new answer to your in-car entertainment needs


Although Lexus is a great car that offers both luxury and reliability, after even five years being in use its infotainment system can quickly become as obsolete as an eight-track player. What appears prime technology five years ago may seem hopelessly archaic as new car owners enjoy latest and greatest such as Car Play or Android Auto. For Lexus owners, there are options to replace an old system with an aftermarket model, which can be costly and hard to integrate.

But GROM Audio, a Silicon Valley based car audio innovator, has developed a better solution for the dilemma of the outdated Lexus stereo. They call their solution VLine, an aftermarket infotainment system upgrade for existing Lexus and Toyota vehicles. VLine is the smart computer that interfaces with the vehicle’s original manufacturer-installed stereo or infotainment system to elevate its capabilities and features.

Connected to the factory car stereo with navigation touchscreen, VLine aftermarket infotainment system provides video interface to display latest apps available on Google Play Market, including many key utilities that enhance driver safety and convenience.

Developed on Android 5.1.1, VLine enables essential navigation and GPS tools—such as Google Maps and Waze—to help drivers get to their destination safely and quickly. VLine offers many popular music apps such as Web Radio, Spotify, Google Music, displayed and operated directly using the Lexus navigation screen. Drivers enjoy seeing song titles, artists information and even cover art, on their Lexus displays. Bluetooth A2DP music steaming is also available.

VLine is controlled with existing touchscreen and/or steering wheel buttons . The users can switch between map and media screens with one touch. In addition, the Lexus drivers and passengers can use Vline’s voice search and command activation button to navigate to the place, or to find the music to play.

GROM Audio announced the pre-sale for VLine with the special early bird pricing, and estimated shipping date of September 30th.

You can see the demo video below:

GROM Audio is at EVOLUTION CAR SHOW: August 27th

EVO3-VENDOR-GROM “Kaizen” is the Japanese word for improvement. As a philosophy, it is the discipline of incessant progress. It was introduced to the West initially by Masaaki Imai in his book Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success in 1986.

GROM Audio’s goals are in-tune this concept. As an innovative company a part of the rapid evolution of car audio, GROM will be partnering with EVOLUTION, a car show hosted by BLOX that has continually looked at the philosophy of Kaizen as a path to offering a myriad of diverse elements to its event.

EVOLUTION has evolved into one of our nation’s best car shows by featuring amazing, unique vehicles and a variety of outstanding exhibits, Through “Kaizen,” BLOX realized that EVOLUTION must more astonishing each year. GROM Audio is eagerly ready to attend and present some of their latest innovations at EVOLUTION, such as DashLinQ (a music app for drivers) and the GROM’s staple car kits (kits that symbiotically integrate mobile device into car stereo systems)

Join GROM at EVOLUTION to learn what the next step is in car audio and exhibition cars. Meet Felicia Salazar (@feeesalazar at Instagram) while she will be demonstrating the GROM products at our booth. Spin the wheel of fortune to win the prizes, and chat with our friendly team.


420 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94107
Main Guest Entrance
22nd Street & Illinois Street

Saturday, August 27th

$20.00 per ticket
Click here for official online ticket vendors:
All General Admission, Ticket Purchases, Guest-List, Will Call, VIP should use the entrance on the end of 22nd Street, at the corner of Illinois Street.

Please visit the EVOLUTION website for more information: Twitter/Facebook hashtag #gotoevolution

Autonomous Cars, One Level at a Time

by Rudolfo San Miguel

An autonomous car, sometimes called a self-driving car, is a vehicle that requires no driver. This car drives itself. The goal is far from being reached but several automakers are deep in developing this new concept in car technology.

By Michael Shick - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

By Michael Shick – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,, Google Self Driving Vehicle in Mountain View, CA

Most notably in the U.S., General Motors has signed a partnership to design cars for Lyft to be used in their ride sharing service. GM is investing $500 million in the program and will also develop an autonomous version of the Chevy Volt.

Toyota debut their version of an autonomous car in 2013, but is still waiting for more research to be done. Meanwhile, Nissan announced a partnership with Renault, a French automobile company established in 1899, to design ten autonomous car models by 2020.

What About Car Insurance?

All of these automakers are on a search for the Holy Grail for a truly hands-free riding experience, one that will change everything for both road travelers and car insurers. A report was issued by KPMG—one of the “Big Four” in international professional services that offer auditing, assurance, tax, consulting, advisory, and so forth—detailing how car insurance will be affected by a possible 80% drop in accidents by 2040. But what about in the next 10 to 15 years?

“Insurance companies need to understand how these new capabilities affect driving risk, “said Joe Schneider, a representative with KPMG. He went on to say that “It’s like a baby, going from crawling to walking to running.” What Joe Schneider is talking about is the question of how any insurer can estimate the risk in an autonomous car unless they can understand the level of autonomy offered by the vehicle.

This is where the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has gotten involved. They defined five different levels of autonomy for self-driving cars. According to a representative from the NHTSA, autonomous cars are “an area of rapid change, which requires the DOT and NHTSA to remain flexible and adaptable as new information and technologies emerge. Amid that rapid change, the North Star for DOT and NHTSA remains safety.”

The concept of safety is important to keep in mind. It is why insurers are probably very interested in what NHTSA has to say. The fear of a car malfunctioning and causing an accident may be a major problem with building these vehicles. When a computer stops working correctly important data, time, or money could be lost. What happens when a self-driving car stops doing its job right?

Five Levels Autonomy in Autonomous Cars

With this in mind, the importance for defining these five levels for autonomous cars becomes extremely self-evident. Here is what you should know about these levels:

levels_of_automation source:

Level 0

This is basically a regular car with no autonomous functionality. The driver controls all operations of the vehicle.

Level 1

This is would be a semi-autonomous self-driving car. What this means is that some functions can be done by the car; however, the driver is mostly in charge.

There is a lot that can be offered at this level. Think about a car that can automatically turn on headlights when it senses the sun is setting or when you are entering a tunnel. How about a car that turns on the AC when the cabin gets too cold and turns off when a certain temperature is reached, just like in a home AC system. At this level, there could be cars that could automatically alert you when it senses that you may be falling asleep at the wheel. You could also have cars that could activate certain safety procedures if you lose control or spin out.

Level 2

At this level a driver can take their hands off the wheel. It is also is the level where two functions in a car must be automated. This level still leaves the driver in control of the vehicle and monitoring its performance while in operation; however, it allows for the car to handle more than one function without the manipulation of the driver. How would this be useful you may ask?

Consider commuting in heavy traffic where you really have to focus your attention on both what is happening on the road and how you are controlling the car. At this level, your vehicle could both handle air conditioning and headlights for instance. It could both provide assistance with speed management and offer assistance with breaking.

Level 3

Under this level, drivers can hand over control of their vehicle during certain conditions of either traffic congestion or environmental factors. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) define this level as “the driving mode-specific performance by an automated driving system of all aspects of the dynamic driving task with the expectation that the human driver will respond appropriately to a request to intervene.”

Level 4

At this level, a car becomes fully autonomous. The car can perform safety critical functionality and monitor conditions on the road during the whole driving period.

This brings to mind a whole new level of “cruise control.” Think about a 100% car version of Autopilot, way beyond what is currently offered through Tesla’s new feature. Here is a scenario:

You start your car and drive towards the freeway for a short road trip. After navigating onto the freeway and into the open road, you let your car take control while you call your girlfriend who has already arrived at your destination. You discuss plans for the next several days, while your car takes care of your driving. You take control of your vehicle after your conversation and pull over at an exit to refuel. Now, you’re back on the road and release control to your car. But this doesn’t last long because it seems someone lost some cargo they were hauling. Their debris is all over the road. You decide to take back control again so you navigate around all the stuff on the road. Soon, you are clear of the debris field and allow the car to take over driving once again. You call your girlfriend and let her know you’re going to be a little late.

This is what can happen at level 4. This is what Tesla promises will be available in 2018.

Level 5

At this level, the car is fully autonomous. The driver isn’t even present at this level. There are only passengers or riders. To put it another way, at this level your car has passed all its driving exams and has its own driver’s license—figuratively speaking. Here is another example:

You’re at your aunt’s house with your girlfriend. She asked to use your car, and you agree. She gets in your vehicle and reads a magazine while your car chauffeurs her to her destination. She leaves the car there. Later in the day when you’re about leave your aunt’s place, you pull out your phone and order your car to meet you there. In less than an hour, your car shows up, and you’re taken home by your vehicle. Jokingly, you might consider seeing your aunt there watching you leave, shaking her head and praying for your safety.

The Future


Munich, Germany – March 16th, 2016: Presentation of a super car BMW i Vision Future Interaction. This prototype demonstrates how will be look the new cars from BMW in future.

There has been talk about making other vehicles autonomous. By taking the idea that is popular with private automobiles and creating other sources of transportation and allowing them to use this technology. There has been some discussion about autonomous trucks. Specifically, there has been talk about automating some of the processes that a trucker must perform, like hitching a tractor to a trailer or backing into a cargo dock.

In the bigger picture, could it be possible someday that truck drivers become obsolete and shipping companies retain a fleet of self-driving trucks? Probably not as it is hard to imagine a driverless truck pulling into a gas station to refuel; however, many functions handled by these drivers may someday be autonomous of a human controller.

The same could be said about our nation’s railroads for both passengers and cargo. Trains run on tracks so there is less need for an operator. Maybe trains of the future will have crews onboard solely to oversee operations the train is performing and monitor the train’s performance to avoid disasters.

As mentioned earlier in this article, GM is partnering with Lyft, a ride sharing service, to build a fleet of cars for passenger transport services. Could this mean the complete elimination of taxies for this driverless option? In this vision, will ride-sharing disappear as well?

What about planes and helicopters? Could there be a point in the distant future where these vehicles are able to operate safely without pilots? And construction and farming tractors, could they function without operators? Could they start performing designated tasks and make decisions about their job?

There is so much to consider about this technology and where it may lead that volumes of books could written on the topic. There are probably already being published. The truth is that only the future will reveal to us how this technology will be used.

Tesla’s Autopilot update

Tesla did something amazing in October 2015. They wirelessly updated every U.S. Tesla built and sold in the past year. The overnight update itself was extremely remarkable. It was the first of its kind. Tesla updated these car’s infotainment systems like an app developer would update their app on your smart phone. In one simple update, Tesla took the concept of the connected car to the next level.

Among the features Tesla added in the update was Autopilot, which mimics some of the characteristics of another revolutionary idea in automaking: Autonomous cars. Autopilot enables drivers to temporarily allow their car to handle basic driving functions, similar to what autonomous cars can accomplish.

Tesla is moving in the right direction with the Autopilot update. Though Tesla doesn’t offer Level 4+ autonomy in their cars, it does offer the closest thing to it. Specifically, the option in Autopilot called “Autosteer.” This feature reads highway lane lines and detects other vehicles. It does this by harnessing a series of sensors built into applicable Tesla models, which include front-facing radar, a camera that uses image recognition, and a 360-degree ultrasonic sonar emitter. This allows these Tesla models to steer themselves and maintain safe driving speeds. These features will not allow for a fully autonomous car, but create an option for drivers to let their car take the wheel with proper supervision.

Here is the thing. Consider the big news concerning this release of Autopilot. It was downloaded by Tesla wirelessly, similar to when you are receiving app updates on your phone. The connected car updating innovation that Tesla has created can be used for further updates, allowing Autopilot to be further refined without the car owner having to do anything.

Tesla Autopilot source:

Tesla Autopilot

Additionally, through the owner’s consent, information from these car models can be relayed back to Tesla developers. This information can include data on highways, freeways, and other roads. It can include data on driving conditions during different weather events, road environments, traffic patterns, and so forth. This allows Tesla to create a car driven crowdsourcing database of information that it can use to refine and expand their ventures into autonomous car technology.

In this sense, we can start to see how these ideas of connected cars, autonomous vehicles, infotainment systems, and GPS navigation systems start to blend into one another. This is why search engine giants like Google can enter into the car world and mobile ride sharing services like Lyft can partner with automaking giants like GM.

Only time and the spark of innovative thinking fueled by imagination can tell where this road will lead, or who will be driving.

Here some sources of further reading:

About author: Rudolfo San Miguel is an independent writer for GROM Audio.
GROM Audio is the developer of connected car and vehicle infotainment solutions, including Bluetooth, Android, iPhone and USB car kits for factory stereos.

Nine Tips for a 4th of July Road Trip

The best pleasures are simple ones. Sometimes it’s great to leave everything behind and venture out on your own, or with friends and/or family. During the 4th of July weekend many American’s celebrate their nation’s birth by liberating themselves from their home and normal routine. Some people take the opportunity to pack their car and venture on to the open road. The time is perfect during the hot weather to head towards the wilderness or a local regional lake for camping, hiking, and other outdoor fun. Others take it as a chance to travel by road to a friend or family for a long overdue to visit.



Traveling on the road can be challenging, especially with not knowing what to expect on one’s path. Proper planning and preparation can make a long driving trip easy and relaxing, avoiding hazards and time consuming variables. Here are several tips to consider when making your preparations.

1. Properly plan your start and end time, and decide how to avoid traffic.


Those of us living in the high density areas are quite familiar how bad the traffic can be at the start of the long weekend. Google recommends taking off early on Saturday morning, as early as before 7am, to beat the traffic. Many people leave work early in hopes of beating traffic, so the traffic starts early on Friday. The traffic will also be bad on the last day of the long weekend as the roads will be packed with the travelers returning back home.

2. Make sure your vehicle is in good condition for a road trip.


Check your tire pressure, oil, washer fluid. Pack a road safety kit and jumper cables. Get the OBD2 Dongle to read your OBD2 Diagnostic system. The Bluetooth based OBD II scan tool such as GROM’s SmartScan OBD II Dongle is able to diagnose a problem if one of your car’s warning light turn on.

3. Pack cash and old-fashioned paper maps.


Bring at least $100 of paper money in addition to credit and debit cards. You never know when you cards may become inaccessible or lack sufficient funds to pay for vital needs during your journey. Never assume that whatever business you’re buying from will take credit or debit cards.

Pack old-fashioned paper maps! You don’t know when your electronic devices decide not to work and/or are not getting sufficient signal to be useful. This is the best contingency you can offer yourself in such situation.

4. Focus on your driving.


Don’t text and drive, or check Facebook while behind the wheels. Minimize distractions as much as possible. If you have a companion riding along, you can have them change the music, check the maps, or text to your friends. If you are feeling drowsy, pull over and have your passenger take the wheel, or stop for a short nap.

5. Make sure you are going the right way.

offline_area_downloadIt’s easy to focus solely on your driving or assume you’re following the proper path. By frequently checking your GPS navigation device, maps, road signs, and other relevant information; you can avoid retreading back to the proper road or having to use an alternate path. Use the latest navigation apps that are available on your Smartphone, such as Waze and Google Maps. You can get real time traffic updates and properly plan your trip. Additionally, you can download offline content with Google Maps. If you are aware that there will be areas without reception during your road trip, think ahead and download the offline content of those areas to your smartphone. You can do so by going to Maps > Offline Areas on your phone.

6. Stay entertained online or offline.

dashlinq_web_radioTo stay connected, you can get a hotspot with pre-paid data plan, or use your phone’s internet. If you will be traveling to the areas without cellular reception, prepare ahead by uploading some music/audiobooks to a USB stick and connecting it to the GROM-USB3 or GROM-MST4 device. You can also download music on your phone to listen to while you are offline. You can download your purchased music files directly from Google Music or Apple iTunes before you begin your journey. With GROM DashLinQ’s WebRadio plugin you can record your favorite pieces of music while streaming, and listen to them later while offline. If all else fails, dig up some of your old CD’s and pack them in your car.

7. Make sure your phone and other electronic devices are always charged.


If you are not traveling alone, you probably have more than one electronic device with you such as a phone. The problem is that there are not enough power outlets in your car. Here are some useful devices that can help:

8. Plan on fueling your car and yourself.


Always make sure that you’re prepared to pull over to get more gas when you notice you only have a quarter is left. Use GasBuddy or any other smartphone app that will help you to plan for your pit-stops. You may even save some money on gas. Make sure to always carry enough water in your car and replenish your water supplies whenever there is the chance. “When I travel during summer, I always make sure to have the access to the icy water. It helps me to stay energized and hydrated”, says Rodney at GROM Audio.

If you are traveling by electric car, check to plan on your recharging wisely.

9. Get a travel pillow for your passengers .


If you are the driver you need to make sure to stay focused behind the wheel (unless you are inside the self-driving vehicle). Passengers, on the other hand, can afford such a luxury as taking a nap. Travel pillows and blankets can make your passenger’s life easier, and help to avoid neck pain.

In addition, to these tips, it is also helpful to keep a checklist of everything you need and will be necessary to complete your journey. With the proper foresight and some practical sense, you can ensure that your road trip is both pleasant and hassle free.

Drive happy.


GROM Audio is the developer and manufacturer of state of art USB, Android and Bluetooth car kits to integrate to your factory car stereo for music, GPS and phone calls.

Join GROM Audio at Wekfest on July 24th

Very soon we will be in San Jose as one of the Bay Area’s premier car show returns home. The WekFest International Automotive Tour is happening at the San Jose Convention Center on July 24th from 1pm to 6pm. This will be the 8th annual event in Northern California.


The event will feature:

  • 400+ pre-screened European, Japanese, and Domestic aftermarket builds.
  • Vendor row featuring automotive and lifestyle brands.
  • Worldwide Spectators/participants all the way from the mainland US, Japan, and neighboring Islands
  • Event coverage from all major publications.
  • Official event model, Tianna Gregory.

Image source: Tianna Gregory official website,

We are preparing a booth for this event, which will include latest demos and sneak peek previews of the projects still in development. This is a great chance to see the our VLINE – latest in-car infotainment system.

Come visit us, spin the fortune wheel and win cool prizes. Giveaways and product information will be available at the booth, as well as our friendly selves. We are looking forward to meeting everyone for some fun and chill time.

More about Wekfest


Image source: official Wekfest blog,

Starting as a small meet in a Japantown parking garage in San Francisco, Wekfest, a gathering for all youth cultures, has blossomed into a six city U.S. tour, along with one show in Japan. Known among other car show and vendors for its strict approval process, Wekfest allows only the finest cars in the region to be exhibited.

Wekfest began sevens ago when a couple of car enthusiast wanted to show off their vehicles in a local parking garage in the San Francisco Japantown. Soon the show began to tour across the United States visiting many major cities: Hawaii, Chicago, Long Beach, New Jersey, and Texas. By 2011, WekFest made their car show international by traveling overseas to Japan. And in 2014, WekFest made their first stop in Florida.

Want to Participate?


Image source: official Wekfest blog,

The cost of this event is $30. Ticket for this event can be purchase at EventBrite. The San Jose Convention Center is located at 150 West San Carlos Street, San Jose, CA 95113.

If you wish to have your vehicle to be shown at this event please follow this link:

The registration process comprises a screening procedure, which is a principal that Wekfest has upheld since it begun in 2009. This process guarantees Wekfest is represents individuals and vendors who promote a general practice of functionality, form, authenticated goods, and a positive ethical contribution to the car community. Wekfest is dedicated to showcasing communities through cars.

We look forward to our participation at the Wekfest, and to meeting with you at the show. Follow up us on Twitter and Facebook for live updates from the show, with the hashtag #WEKFEST.

The Evolution of the Head Unit

by Rudolfo San Miguel

I take my car stereo for granted. It has always been part of my driving or riding life. Since I was a child, these stereos have always been there for my listening pleasure. As a driver, it kept me going during long commutes. It has distracted me, entertained me, and irritated me. When I was much younger, there was nothing more than AM/FM radio units. Later, I encountered units that include a cassette tape player, and then CD player. Now, I simply attach my IPod to my stereo to listen to my personal collection of music. I have had a long love/hate history with the car stereo, sometimes known as a “head unit.”

What is a “head unit”? A head unit is basically your car stereo; specifically it references the control system that offers your audio features available through its components. Differing from an Infotainment system, which offers more comprehensive features beyond the audio components, the head unit is still the dominant audio device in cars. Here is what says about head units:

The head unit is what lets you choose the audio source, set the volume, determine the specific song you want to hear or pick the radio station you want to listen to. All audio signals also start with the head unit. It generates sound from both “over the air” signals, such as radio, and recorded formats, such as a CD and other digital media. A car head unit typically has everything but the speakers crammed into that one box in your dash…

Let me take you on a little history of head units, from simple car stereos to today’s Infotainment hubs:

1930 to 1953: The Beginnings of the Head Unit


In 1928 two brothers, Paul and Joseph Galvin, bought plans for a battery-eliminator and manufacturing equipment at an auction for $750 from the Stewart Battery Company, which went into bankruptcy. The brothers formed a company together called Galvin Manufacturing, which we know today as Motorola. This purchase allowed the brothers to develop not only the household radios, but also the first head units. The battery eliminators worked in vacuum tube radios, allowing these receivers to run on a standard home electric current or car-generated electric currents.

Galvin Manufacturing sold their head units for around $130 (today’s equivalent, adjusted for inflation, would be around $1,800). The radio offered only AM reception and this endured as the standard in car audio for around 20 years.

By the 1950’s, head units became much less expensive and a new arena had emerged in the radio market. FM radio was still evolving and hadn’t developed as a popular listening choice; however, this didn’t stop head unit manufactures to begin to develop products that offer FM reception.

By Yeti.bigfoot – Own work, CC BY 3.0, FORD Taunus 17M P2(TL) deLuxe Two door 1958 Radio receiver BLAUPUNKT Köln

In 1952, Blaupunkt would be the first company to manufacture head units that offered both AM and FM reception. Though the units were considered a novelty, they would eventually become standard car audio equipment in cars. Blaupunkt was a German-based company that was named for the German word for “blue point” or “blue dot”, which was painted onto its headphones that had passed quality control.

1965 to 1970: The 8-Track and the Cassette Player

In September 1965, Ford Motors debuted the 8-track player as an option to be included in their 1966 car models. In the beginning, 8-track tape players existed only as accessories in car (home players were later introduced); as a result, 8-track cartridges in the beginning were sold only in auto parts stores and the similar retail businesses.


By CZmarlin – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Factory installed AM/FM/8-track unit in 1978 AMC Matador with a Briefcase Full of Blues cartridge in “play” position

8-Track tapes were popular for two decades and became the alternate source of audio inside cars. They had several advantages over records, most obviously that one could realistically listen to them in their car. Here is what wrote about 8-Tracks:

Sometimes known as 8-track cartridges, 8-track tapes are a type of recording technology that along with cassettes and vinyl records served as a primary format for the distribution of recordings during the 1960s and 1970s. Considered an improvement over the reel-to-reel tapes that were common prior to 1960, 8-track tapes offered a means of using recording tape to create copies of recordings while providing the protection of a sealed plastic housing that helped to minimize the incidence of damage to the tape.

This trend didn’t last as car builders soon were to add head units that offered Cassette-Tape Players. These compact cartridges began taking over the 8-Track’s market by the mid-1970s. The first car’s to offer cassette players in their head units quickly became more popular over their 8-Track cousins. In fact, this new recording method was such an improvement over all its predecessors that it made any other method redundant, outside of use in radio stations or professional grade recording studios.

By late 1982, most retailers began to phase out 8-tracks as a consumer option and by the mid-1980’s the format was a relic of previous decades and an older generation. The cassette would become the new format for recorded audio playback in cars; however, their reign would only last for a short time as did its predecessor the 8-Track.

The 1970s also saw the beginning of aftermarket – the section of the automotive industry involved with parts and accessories after the initial sale. Stereo shops allowed car owners to customize their cars themselves, and soon became a popular option for those drivers that wanted exceptional sound quality. Companies began to sell pull-out cassette receivers and higher-quality speakers that drivers could install themselves.

1982 to 1985: Head Units reach new levels of digital innovation

In 1982, Cadillac and Bose partnered to create a new evolution in head unit sound systems. They would offer the new system in that year’s Cadillac Seville. Designing a completely new kind of head unit, Bose offered a custom engineered unit, which provided audio output specifically designed for the acoustics of the 1982 Seville.


Becker Mexico 860 CD stereo, released in 1985, factory installed in Mercedes Benz

By 1984, cassette players had a new competitor in the audio playback market. In 1984 Pioneer introduced the the world’s first car CD player, the CDX-1. Becker introduced their latest head unit called “Mexico,” which offered the first ever CD player built in their system. Compact Discs, more commonly known as a CD, contain a data storage format that is burned onto a digital optical disc, the CD itself. The format was designed for music storage and playback. The CD’s were able to offer better sound quality and the ability to instantly skip tracks. Later, the technology was modified and evolved into the CD-ROM format, which allowed for more liberal data storage that became the staple for computer and other digital data readers. This led to the creation of many other variants—CD-R, CD-RWVCD, SVCD, Photo CD, PictureCD, CD-i, and Enhanced Music CD.

Jim Russell, who worked for General Electric and the Battelle, invented the CD technology after Battelle recognized his creativity and provided him time and a laboratory to work on his ideas. Philips and Sony licensed Russell’s idea and released the first music CDs in 1982, which took off quickly. The rest is history.

1990s – complete CD takeover


Different formats of CD gained popularity and became wide-spread by the mid of 90s. Multi-disc CD changers became the popular option among the drivers, and were offered as the factory upgrades or aftermarket options. By the mid-1990s, it was common to find a CD changer in a given car’s trunk or underneath the front passenger seat.

The Digital Era of the 2000’s

As the era of handheld devices began to dawn, the rising sun of digital storage and playback would quickly shine its light across old audio playback methods. This began shortly after the creation of the iPod®, which introduced a familiar technology that offered access into current head units.


Flickr ©Michael Stephens

The 3.5 mm Auxiliary output port became a new gateway to the emerging power of iPods, and later Smartphones and tablets. Soon, head units would also include USB ports. This would allow these devices to access head units and integrate data offered in the devices—like track title, song duration, and much more. With the emergence of smart phones, head units would be conduits for streaming audio, further extending access to car stereo’s to online radio stations, along with global radio stations streamed through the internet.

In addition to hand-held devices, head units were also beginning to harness audio offered through satellite radio. Sirius® and XM® became the two leaders in this industry as they revolutionized radio broadcasting. Not since the introduction of FM had there has been such advancement in car radio.


Beginning in the summer of 2002, Sirius offered 69 streaming channels of music with an additional 65 streams of sports, news, and other non-music entertainment for its customers. Channels broadcasted 24 hours a day, both commercial-free and uncensored. Starting with $14.99 monthly subscription fee and $15 activation fee per radio receiver, Sirius required special satellite radio receivers; however, many car models started offering satellite radio receivers as part of the factory head units.

Another competitor was XM Radio. Formed in 1988 as the American Mobile Satellite Corporation (AMSC), which was a collective of smaller organizations; this company officially began broadcasting in the fall of 2001. They also had an online service known as XM Radio Online or XMRO. They offered many similar music streams as their satellite radio sister company and were available through a smart phones. Sirius would eventually purchase XM Radio becoming the sole dominant company in that market.

Bluetooth became the standard for hands-free phones in the car by 2010, and later more automakers added Bluetooth audio. First Bluetooth hands free car kit was introduced back in 2001.

It allows drivers to cut the cord between their stereo and other music mobile sources such as Smartphones. Car manufacturers began adding more advanced controls and features for Bluetooth audio, such as album art and track control on a car’s head unit.

Beyond 2010: An Infotainment Odyssey


Getty Images: Ford Mondeo 2014. The shown car is from Titanium series, it contains a full leather interior, many technical and multimedia features and a 240hp turbo engine that made it the strongest and fastest Ford model available ever, up to the remake muscle car Mustang was released a year later.

As the digital revolution began to accelerate, car manufactures started to think more creatively with head units and what was possible. GPS navigation systems were rapidly evolving, along with digital music storage and replay. New car models began to offer what was to be called “In-car Entertainment Centers (ICE),” but what would more broadly become known as “Infotainment systems.”

These systems would act as both information and entertainment hubs, providing many of the features previous found in car head units along with other features: GPS navigation, rear camera view for backing, weather, internet access, music, internet radio such as Pandora and Slacker, satellite radio, USB access to USB mass storage and hand-held Smartphone devices, and much more.

In 2014 two giants, Apple and Google, began the “rush to the car infotainment” with the introduction of the CarPlay and Android Auto. CarPlay and Android Auto are basically the standard of connecting the Smartphone to the factory stereo. This standard enabled the car radio or the head unit to be a controller and display of the smartphone. The standard became available in select 2016 vehicles, and some aftermarket stereos such as Pioneer AVIC-8100NEX, Apline iLX-007, Kenwood DDX6902S, and others.

The Future beyond the head unit: Driverless cars


Getty Images: Frankfurt, Germany – September 16, 2015:  Mercedes Benz autonomous concept car at the IAA 2015.

The current Autonomous Driving technology that is being talk about is so new that it hasn’t even arrived for customers yet. Many automakers are developing driverless cars where owners aren’t involved with driving primarily, freeing them up to focus on other situations. Whether its work or having fun, car owners may no longer have to focus on their driving at all with this future innovation in driving technology.

By using a variety of methods, these vehicles would sense their surroundings (including relevant signage) and use advanced control systems to interpret that data to choose the appropriate navigation path, while avoiding possible obstacles. Many of these proto-type vehicles utilize devices like radar, lidar, GPS, Odometry, and computer vision to collect the appropriate data.

Though companies like Google that are working hard to make driverless cars possible, the likelihood of seeing these vehicles on the street regularly are still far from reality; however, automakers are moving fast to make sure these vehicle are available as soon as possible.


Mitsubishi Interior Concept (source:

“The transition to roadways filled with driverless drones will be gradual,” Ragunathan “Raj” Rajkumar, a professor of electrical and computer engineering in Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab, said in an article in Scientific American, “People will buy cars with more and more autonomous features in the coming years until, sometime in the 2020s, the majority of vehicles on the road will for the most part be fully autonomous.”

With this being said, the driverless car concept opens a new era of in-car entertainment and infotainment options. The drivers will have endless possibilities to watch favorite movies, listen to the internet radio, work, sleep and have fun – all while being driven by their cars. It is predicted that by 2025 the self-driver cars will become commonplace. We have a nice opportunity to see how it will shape our relationship with the cars, our roads and our society as the whole .

The Timelessness of Head Units

In the end, we still have the basics in every head unit, which includes some kind of radio and playback device, whether installed in the car or attached. In a world with long commutes and occasional round trips, the value of head units has never diminished. As time passes the only thing that has changed are the features and quality of the head units available to us. They have been and are as fundamental to the driving experiences as most components in vehicles then and now.

I still own a car that primarily offers only a radio and a CD player. It does have a receiver to acquire satellite radio; however, the most advanced technology I use in this system is the Auxiliary port to access music on my iPod. The next time I buy a car, which will probably be close to a decade from now, will surely have an advanced Infotainment system. I haven’t speculated how I’d use this system. Some would say, I wouldn’t even be involved with driving this future vehicle. For now, I’m happy with what I have and don’t plan on upgrading my head unit. I still occasionally play around with the radio. But the reception isn’t always good, and I am nearly completely intolerant to commercials. This much hasn’t change since I first started playing around with car stereos when I was a kid.

About the author: Rudolfo San Miguel is the independent writer at GROM Audio

GROM Audio offers Bluetooth car kits that supply both hands free and wireless music streaming. The company’s mission is to make driving happy and safe. In addition to Bluetooth systems, GROM Audio offers advanced Smartphone integration for both Android and iPhone, making your car smart and connected.